The Centre for Legal Resources (CRJ/CLR) and The Public Ministry – The Prosecutor’s Office of The High Court of Justice have started to implement the AdaptJust project — Accessible Justice for people with disabilities, which is intended to improve the implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and the decisions of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers concerning the rights of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities deprived of their liberty. The project partners aim at increasing the ability of magistrates and civil society to protect the rights of persons with disabilities by piloting a protection mechanism and by drawing up an action plan to prevent inhuman and degrading treatment in residential institutions for persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities.
AdaptJust is equally addressed to prosecutors, judges, lawyers, psychiatry specialists, social workers and psychologists working in the field of protection of the rights of persons with disabilities through ongoing training, information and support provided by independent experts. The project also provides for the development of an action plan to prevent inhuman and degrading treatment, setting up of interdisciplinary working groups, training of experts, specific training in the field of facilitating access to justice, a handbook, the development of a network of psychosocial experts, to assist prosecutor’s offices and courts in cases involving people with mental disabilities.
The aim of the project is to pilot at national level a mechanism for protecting these rights (monitoring visits, call-centre, providing advice, assistance and legal representation — including directly in the centres) and to promote dialogue and partnership between public institutions and civil society, through participation and advisory processes, the involvement of beneficiaries at all stages of the project, the establishment of consultation and capacity building mechanisms and their organizations to document and to report to the European institutions, to elaborate studies regarding the impact of domestic and EU legislation, but also regarding the situation of the rights of persons with disabilities at national level.
Currently, there are approximately 17,500 institutionalised persons with disabilities in Romania and, according to statistics, 56.6 % of them have a mental disability. Initiative for the project emerged in a context in which, according to statistics, persons with disabilities have less access to the justice system when they need to report a violation of their rights, compared to those who have no disabilities. The national study referred to above states that only 40% of persons with disabilities manage to complete the stages of lodging a complaint and only 15 % appeal the decision of a court (compared to 29 % of persons without disabilities).
Access to justice is all the more important because persons with disabilities, in particular those with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities placed in medical and social institutions, are disproportionately exposed to violence and neglect. The prevalence of violence against persons with disabilities is 1.5 times higher than against persons without disabilities and the risk of persons with disabilities being exposed to violence is 4 times higher. Data collected by CLR shows that around 1500 persons with disabilities die in social and medical institutions each year and that only a few of those deaths are reported in order to be investigated as suspicious deaths, whereas the mortality rate among young persons with disabilities that are institutionalised is 16 times higher than that of the general population.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ratified by Law no. 221/2010, recognizes them the right to effective access to justice, on an equal level as others, and requires the State to implement training measures for actors involved in the administration of justice. The main problem addressed by the project is the difficult access to justice for persons with disabilities, including the lack of adapted procedures to the degree of disability (in particular, there are no complaint and protection mechanisms available, access to an effective remedy and appeal, or mechanisms to prevent mistreatment or protection of the right to life and to liberty and security), issues raised in a number of decisions of the Committee of Ministers, not yet fully implemented in practice, of which we mention “CLR on behalf of Valentin Câmpeanu v. Romania”, “Parascineti v. Romania”, “B. v. Romania (no. 2)”, “N. v. Romania”, “R.D. and I.M.D v. Romania”, “E.B. v. Romania”.
For more details related on the project: https://bit.ly/AdaptJust.
Georgiana Pascu, CLR, Team Leader CLR, email: email@example.com, phone: 0729881159
Adrian Gavrilescu, Public Ministry, Project manager on behalf of the Public Ministry, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The project is implemented by the Centre of Legal Resources in partnership with The Public Ministry – The Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice and benefits from a grant of 1.324.994 € offered by Island, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants, through the Local Development Programme. More information: www.eeagrants.ro / www.frds.ro.
The aim of this project is to facilitate the access to justice for the persons with intellectual disabilities and/or with mental health problems. More information here: https://bit.ly/AdaptJust.
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Working together for an inclusive Europe!
_________________________,  “Diagnosis of the situation of persons with disabilities in Romania”, the National Authority for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Children and Adoptions, 2021